Tag Archives: protagonist

My NaNoWriMo: the protagonist

In the run-up to NaNoWriMo I’m exploring the world and characters I’ll be writing about. This time it’s my protagonist.

Fiarra is the daughter of convicts; her father returned “back home” across the sea after completing his sentence – right before it was decided that the island was too profitable to risk harming those profits by bringing convicts back. She was brought up on the island in an odd social position – neither convict nor quite free, she had more rights than her mother but fewer than the servants and soldiers who had come to the island to work for the governor. Her mother died in the plague, and with the cemetery full she buried her just inside the wall encircling the island’s main settlement.

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The Passive Protagonist

Be active, we are told as writers; don’t say “he was walking”, say, “he walked”. Active language is more engaging, and often better paced. It enables stronger prose. It lifts your writing. By contrast, passive language slows the pace and saps excitement by using two words when one will do or placing the character in the position of the object, the thing to whom actions are done. Any writer who’s spent much time on the internet or reading writing advice books knows that (and in fact my friend Brian recently posted on this subject).

On the micro level – on the level of individual sentences and phrases – this advice is followed. On the macro level – with characters over the course of a novel – often it is not.

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